I remember my frustration with this student. He was always absent. His work was not turned in. He was disengaged.
He was also bright and brimming with potential. I would work with him at lunch. I would prod him to get his work in, come to class, be the student he could be.
Finally, we learned the truth of this young man’s home life. He missed so much school because he was afraid to leave his mom unprotected with her boyfriend. That’s when it really sank in.
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This student wasn’t lazy; he was taking on responsibilities not meant for an 8th grader to carry. This student wasn’t disengaged with my class; he was overly engaged in the act of survival.
Research proves this is true for many students enrolled in public schools across America. The brain cannot focus on learning when it is alert for danger.